campus wide alert

College News

April 25th CEO Lecture Features Founder of Lexington-based Clothing Company

April 25, 2013

Category: Business & Economics, Events


CEO LectureEntrepreneur Brandi Tysinger-Temple, founder of the Lexington, N.C. kids clothing company Lolly Wolly Doodle that conducts business on Facebook, admits she did not even have a business plan when she launched her business. But today, Facebook recognizes her business as one of its largest retailers with a page touting almost 550,000 likes and 68,500 who are talking about it.

;

Called an internet pioneer by CBS, HLN and Businessweek. Tysinger-Temple offered remarks entitled "Fearless Entrepreneurship in a Socially-Connected World: Community Building.  Always Improving." at Catawba College's 10th annual CEO Lecture Thursday, April 25 on campus. Her company, Lolly Wolly Doodle (www.lollywollydoodle.com or facebook.com/lollywollydoodle), has gained international recognition for its innovative way of doing business using Facebook.

;Tysinger-Temple says she is "humbled and flattered at the same time" about the success of her business, so much so that it is "not even real to me yet." She told an audience of students and community members about launching her business that "you never know what's on the other side of that door and for me, I didn't even know I was opening a door."

;

Her business began slowly in 2008 after her husband gave her a sewing machine and she used it to create matching outfits for her two daughters who are five years apart in age. She made several extra outfits out of the material she had left over and put these extra outfits up for sale on eBay. These outfits sold and she created more. When she put up a Facebook page and began selling her outfits there, the business really took off.

;

"Within two weeks, we had completely closed down the eBay store and were strictly on Facebook. We're the largest business transacting on Facebook today," she says, noting her hobby "turned into something that took over my life" and got her whole family involved.

;

"You don't have to have a lot of money behind what you're selling to grow your business – mine grew so organically from the beginning. But now, we have a plan for growth because we have to and now we have a mission that truly propels the company forward."

;

Where her company is moving now is into becoming a bigger player in the $22 billion a year kids' apparel market in the U.S. Lolly Wolly Doodle is going up against the likes of billion dollar businesses like Gymboree® and OshKosh B'gosh®.

;

CEO LectureTysinger-Temple says the days of retail locations are over and "the Internet is now clearly your playground."   Her company, she adds, is the first brand in the world born on social media.

;

"People are looking for meaningful products. It's about connecting with customers. It's about sharing. Use social media to build a community, not a business."

;

To demonstrate her point, she notes that 10 percent of her customers are engaged at all times.

;

Here's how Tysinger-Temple markets her wares. "We develop 15-20 products a day and only leave them up on our page about an hour."   People post a comment about what product they want to order in what size and with what features and they are sent an invoice 72 hours later. "Cart abandonment," a dilemma that plagues other online retails using traditional online sites, is not her company's problem.

;

Now employing 140 people, her company is a new boon to her hometown of Lexington, the place, she says, "I spent my life trying to get out of."   Michael Kors is one of her investors and she has an office in New York and a marketing team there and the past to Tysinger-Temple seems distant.

;

"When I first started this journey, being a mother of four felt like enough. Since I decided to turn it into a business in 2010, everything has gone at warp speed. You don't get to slow down and relax, it's full speed ahead all of the time. We're changing the way you buy, the way we sell and the way we do business."

;

And her level of responsibility has changed as well. "It used to just be my family – now it's 140 people," she notes, speaking of her employees. "This is their livelihood and it's a heavy burden to bear. At the end of the day, you have to be up for that task."

;

Final advice that Tysinger-Temple shared includes:

;
  • Be clear about your brand
  • Know your audience and you'll know where to find them
  • Use social media to build a community, not a business
  • Streamline
  • People matter
  • Seize the moment
  • ;
;


RELATED CONTENT:

PhotosPHOTOS: CEO Lecture Featuring Founder of Lolly Wolly Doodle

InfoDistinguished CEO Lecture Series